Visiting Valencia’s Mercat Central


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European markets are some of the best things. Seriously.

The quality of product and variety of product and sometimes the strangeness of product you can find in them is simply unsurpassed.

Sure, they’re just big farmer’s markets/fish markets/meat markets.

But they’re like big farmer’s/fish/meat markets everyday set in (typically) very cool buildings.

Mercat Central de València is no exception.

It’s a big ole market set in a cool old building, and it really brings it in the weird, gross, somewhat horrifying fish department.

The exterior of the Mercat Central or Central Market in Valencia. Stairs leads up to three arches, which sit under ornate rounded awnings and comprise the entrance. The building itself has two rises. The main one is at the right side, where the roof rises diagonally on both sides before meeting a rectangular shaped protuberance in the center of the roof. To the left, a smaller triangular shaped section of roof rises. Eight arched windows line the front of the building, taking up its own section of wall. The windows vary in side with smaller windows on the sides where the roof if at its lowest and larger windows in the center where the roof is at its highest. Stained glass designs are at the top of each window, with the main center window having a circle stained glass design. Slatted blinds cover these windows. A group of people stands at the top of the steps at the righthand market doorway and the yellows awnings of horchata and churros stands are at the bottom of the market. To the left, a brick building with a slanted roof and tiled decorative work stands.

Valencia’s Mercat Central In Pictures

Mercat Central wide stalls color
Mercat Central stalls
Mercat Central Octopus

Now, maybe these aren’t horrifying for you, but for me this display was nightmare material.

Mercat Central creepy fish

The building changed so much throughout the day, creating strikingly different scenery from day brightness to shadows and day to night.

Mercat Central daylight shadows
Mercat Central in daytime shadow.
Mercat Central Sunset
Mercat Central in the depths of sunset.
Mercat Central night detail
Mercat Central at night.

So many beautiful features, both inside and out.

Mercat Central light
Mercat Central dome

Mercat Central Valencia Opening Hours

Mercat Central is open from mid-morning to mid-afternoon (roughly 8 am-3 pm) with varying degrees of consistency.

And if there was one complaint we had about the place, it was these hours of operation.

Basically, it was too FREAKING hot during a whole lot of these hours.

In a country known for its siestas on a continent known for its split-hour operations (most restaurants and many businesses close between lunch and dinner), they could really use a midday break here.

I mean, I get it.

I like the idea of working a short shift and being done for the day at 2:30/3 pm too, but if you’re in Valencia in summer and you’re not at Central Market first thing, you’re not going to have much time before it is BRUTAL in here.


Unless you’re looking for a good dry sauna, in which case by all means…

Basically, during the summer (at least during a summer as unbearable as the last one we were there for), the afternoon hours are relatively useless.

So, we advise getting there early and planning to be done well before lunch.

We got a late start the day we went, were done by 11, and it was still too late of an escape.

Other Things You Should Know

The English at this market is spotty.

The language barrier was on us, of course, but it was rather unusual for a central market in a heavily-touristed city like Valencia.

While most people working the booths spoke much better English than we spoke Spanish, we did have a couple of moments of miming what we wanted.

So, if you don’t speak excellent Spanish, be prepared to make an effort to get what you want.

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